In the words of my expert attorney: "Tracey wasted your time, money and actually made your situation worse."
Last summer I was forcefully being escorted out of a party in Santa Barbara on the basis of not knowing anyone there. I took self defense and woke up in the hospital with 5 stitches after someone smashed a bottle over my head. The witnesses and "victims" were intoxicated, surrounded me and used physical force against me. To my utter disbelief a month later I was mailed a notice that I was being charged with 242 PC M Assault and Battery.
I hired Tracey on 10/21/13 and received a confirmation email notifying me of my payment, I did not hear from her again until almost 2 months later until 12/9/13 the day before my final hearing. Within that time period I sent her personal emails, called her several times, spoke with her assistants and asked for her to get back to me, she never did.
I received a call from Tracey at around 6:00 PM on 12/9/13, she was calling to tell me about a settlement she wanted me to agree to. When I inquired why she had not responded to any emails, phone calls or messages left for her with her assistants, she responded simply with "I thought we were trying to get a hold of you", then she proceeded to tell me the "good news."
She had received a settlement offer from the DA which was "my best option." The settlement was that I would admit to a crime I was wrongfully accused for, I would have 3 years probation, up to $2,000 in fines and I could no longer visit Isla Vista; to my "benefit" the DA would not pursue jail time.
My short conversation with Tracey revolved around me asking her why I would ever agree to this and how this was even considered a settlement. She responded several times with this statement: "the DA will not pursue jail time, although they probably couldn't anyway because there were no serious injuries done to the victims." Then she proceeded to accuse me of the crime I was being charged with "well you did punch them,you battered them. There is no defense for that" (Tracey R. Cruz).
I told her I needed time to think about the settlement, she replied by saying that the hearing was at 8:30 AM the next morning and I needed to make a decision. I could not believe that she had disappeared for more than 1&1/2 months and decided to call me the night before my hearing. I told her to ask the judge for more time, so that I could think about it and do some research. I was then informed that, without notifying me, she had asked for more continuances "I have asked for several extensions and I do not think the Judge will grant another continuance." At that moment I decided to cut my losses, fire Tracey and hire myself a new attorney. I told her to tell the judge she was being replaced and to please give me more time to find a new attorney.
At the time I was a UC Engineering student (now graduated) with no previous criminal record, had hundreds of community service hours and had worked as a tutor/mentor for underrepresented Sr. & Jr. high students in Santa Barbara; it was almost 100% guarantee that the judge would not give me any jail time. Unfortunately it dawned on me that I could have gone into my own hearing weeks earlier, explained the situation, shown my $10,000 in medical bills, and at the very least gotten the exact same sentence if not a way more lenient one or even have gotten the judge to dismiss the case. Tracey had been absolutely useless.
I was granted the extension and found an expert lawyer with 100% positive reviews on yelp and avvo. My new attorney felt for my situation and explained to me that Tracey had not helped at all and actually made my situation worse. He said he usually did not comment on his fellow professionals but he did not have high regards for her work, reputation and in this case she had wasted my time and money.
Have a clue. Say no to Cruz!!